August 2, 2016
In the aftermath of SeaWorld’s announcement to end its captive breeding program for orcas WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, has a launched a new campaign calling on people not to swim with captive whales and dolphins.
Pledge Never to Plunge brings to light the “forgotten whales and dolphins that aren’t part of SeaWorld’s plan to end orca breeding and shows, and aims to raise public concern for their plight. Campaign supporters are asked to take a pledge to never participate in a captive Swim with the Dolphin or Whale program and to share that pledge on their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Across the United States, there are over a dozen facilities which offer members of the public an opportunity to swim, wade, feed or otherwise interact with captive whales and dolphins. Cathy Williamson, Captivity Program Manager for WDC, states, “These programs are currently unregulated in the US since the suspension of specific standards for Swim with the Dolphin programs in 1999. Unfortunately, the current proposed changes to the US government’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regulations for the care and handling of marine mammals in captivity would actually reduce protection for whales and dolphins in these programs”.
Many people are unaware of the problems surrounding captive Swim with the Dolphin and Whale programs and the negative impact on all involved – the humans and the dolphins and whales. SeaWorld recognized that orcas suffer from confinement with its recent announcement ending captive breeding and shows for them, yet the forgotten whales and dolphins also face the same negative consequences as a result of their confinement. Williamson says, “Pledge Never to Plunge will shine a spotlight on the forgotten whales and dolphins, and put public pressure on SeaWorld and the other facilities with captive swim-with programs to re-examine the ethical and long-term financial viability of these programs.”
More details on Pledge Never to Plunge can be found on WDC’s website.